Sabtu, 23 April 2011

INTRODUCTION
CIVILITY AND SOCIAL RELATIONS IN SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
• ALBERTO GOMES, TIMO KAARTINEN, TIMO KORTTEINEN •
 roughout the southern coasts and archipelagos of Asia, the events attracting most attention in the world media appear to be linked to social and political instability and crisis. In spite of the growing role of this region in global processes of economic integration, its image is still one of divisive ethnic particularism complicated by a recent history of seditions, annexations, border conflicts and civil wars. What is missing in such an image is the pervasive and successful management of local social boundaries as well as the cosmopolitan ideas and cultural contacts which characterize the region’s history in the longer term.
 e contributors to this special issue of the Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society adopt the concept of civility to explore and interrogate the practices of managing social boundaries and conflicts in a number of specific sites in South and Southeast Asia. Civility in the classical sense refers to a space between personal relationships and lifeworlds, and encompassing political orders. Our purpose is to avoid treating this space as an abstracted political ideal, as it is in much of the current discussion about civil society. Instead, we ask how mutual recognition and the resolution of conflicts are embedded in social practices and relationships; how these practices articulate with national or colonial classifications of ethnicity and citizenship; and what kinds of performative spaces—public or otherwise—are involved in alternative models of inter-group relations.
Earlier versions of the articles published in this issue were presented in a two-day international workshop on ‘Managing Cultural Diversity: War and Peace in Southeast Asia’, held in August 2006 at the Department of Sociology of the University of Helsinki.  e Workshop was organized as part of an ongoing research project (2005-2010) on ‘Managing Cultural Diversity—Ethnicity Construction in Malaysia and Sri Lanka’ funded by the Academy of Finland and directed by Timo Kortteinen.  e primary question of the project is why ethnic violence has become almost the order of the day in Sri Lanka, but not in Malaysia, which shares a similar colonial history of divide-and-rule hegemony as well as affirmative policies that benefit the dominant ethnic group and exclude citizens belonging to other ethnic groups.  e workshop set out to broaden this comparative agenda to examine cases of successful co-existence and conflict in a number of Asian societies. Much of the discussion in the workshop centred on the problems of accounting for ethnic peace either by depoliticized national agendas such as multi-culturalism or by socially disembedded forms of cosmopolitanism which project politics into the domain of universal values.  e participants’ unease with such models inspired an interest in developing a more ethnographically sensitive agenda based on the notion of civility. We ask why, in spite of relatively similar structural conditions, there is ethnic violence in one country and relative ethnic peace in the other. What practices allow communities in multi-ethnic and historically diverse social settings in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia to manage social tensions and avert or reconcile conflict? To what extent are these practices rooted in local relationships, and what is the role of outside actors and agencies in mobilizing them and giving them new meanings? Are there inclusive spaces of

4
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 32 (3) Autumn 2007
PO Box 59, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland


ALBERTO GOMES, TIMO KAARTINEN, TIMO KORTTEINEN
civility which transcend local social forms, and what is their relationship to the value of human diversity affirmed by different forms of civic nationalism and cosmopolitanism? How do these discourses and practices articulate with models of civil coexistence imposed by nation-states?
From civility to comity
Many policymakers and observers offer simple and straightforward explanations for internal conflicts. It is commonly asserted that the driving forces underlying these conflicts are the ‘ancient hatreds’ that many ethnic and religious groups are said to have for each other.  is view, however, does not explain the low intensity or even general absence of conflict in areas with visible and conspicuous diversity in the forms of ethnicity, race and religion in its populace.  is reality invites reflection and beckons explanation. But to explain this in a comprehensive and thorough manner, it is imperative that we side-step from the broader, top-down frameworks employed in most existing work on the study of ethnic conflict and cohesion to the structure and patterns of everyday intercultural civic engagement and quotidian aspects of daily life involving civility and routine.
In a survey of multi-ethnic societies, Stanfield (1996: 15) notes “as much as we know about how ethnically different people do not get along, we know virtually nothing about the converse—ethnically different people living together in sustaining peace.” While there are several studies exploring why peace and harmony exist in some multicultural contexts (see, for example, Nandy 2002; Varshney 2002), the number is meagre compared to the extensive work on ethnic and communal violence. A pertinent point, as Fearon and  Laitin (1996: 715) raise, is that “…a good theory of ethnic conflict should be able to explain why, despite the greater tensions, peaceful and cooperative relations are by far the more typical outcome than is large-scale violence.” Varshney (2002: 6), in his study of Hindu-Muslim relations in India, goes even further to state forcefully and unequivocally that “until we study ethnic peace, we will not be able to have a good theory of ethnic conflict.”  is is not to suggest that we should ignore the violence that such conflict has caused, especially given the senseless destruction of life and property and the psychological trauma for victims arising from such violence. Indeed, it is precisely for this reason that we have to seek understandings of how people actively create and sustain regimes of peace in multicultural spaces and in potentially volatile and tense political situations.
Varshney rightly clarifies that ethnic peace should be conceptualized as the absence of violence rather than the absence of conflict. In his observations of relative communal harmony and peace in Cochin in India, Ashis Nandy (2002: 160) notes “Having stereotypes and disliking other communities, yet granting them a place in the sun and even the right to dislike and keep a distance from one’s own community, is obviously one of the building blocks of Cochin’s version of cultural plurality.” Conflict does not necessarily lead to violence; communities in conflict with one another can still live in peace and harmony with one another.
 e Oxford English Dictionary defines civility as “politeness; consideration; an act or expression of politeness” among the several meanings of the word. Civility can mean courtesy. Here we use the term to refer to forms of social relations which involve intersubjectivity, interdependence, and reciprocal respect in the pursuit of a common good. As Cheshire Calhoun (2000: 251) indicates, “Civility forestalls the potential unpleasantness

Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 3/2007
5


ALBERTO GOMES, TIMO KAARTINEN, TIMO KORTTEINEN
of a life with other people. Without it, daily social exchanges can turn nasty and sometimes hazardous. Civility thus seems to be a basic virtue of social life.” She stresses the virtue of civility in multicultural societies:
Civility fits citizens for life in a pluralistic society and is closely connected to tolerance.  e civil citizen exercises tolerance in the face of deep disagreement about the good. She respects the rights of others, refrains from violence, intimidation, harassment and coercion, does not show contempt for others’ life plans, and has a healthy respect for others’ privacy. (Calhoun 2000, 251)
In other words, civility informs social engagement and encourages tolerance and respect for differences. However, it must be asserted that it is distinct from tolerance which connotes non-interference. While tolerance may involve the expression of respect for differences, unlike civility, as we delineate here, it is maintained through social distance or detachment.
Civility is often presented as morally virtuous, as in Calhoun’s treatise. However, Bailey, in his book Civility of Indifference (1996), contends that civility does not necessarily imply a moral value or purpose. In his analysis of social life of people in the village of Bisipara in the state of Orissa in eastern India in the 1950s, he observes:
…they habitually acted with calculated moderation, even when they put on the appearance of being impassioned. In their dealings they seldom gave in to anger, still less to sustained mindless hatred. (...)  ey were tolerant of one another, not because they had highly developed and explicit notions of the individual’s proper space and proper freedoms, not for positive reasons, but as a matter of habit, by default. To have been intolerant, had they thought about it, would have been judged expensive, too much trouble, a bad investment, and in the end self-destructive. (1996: 166-167)
It should be stressed that conceptions of civility vary across cultures. What is considered as civil behaviour in one culture may not necessarily be regarded as civil in another; it may even be deemed uncivil. In other words, civility is culturally mediated. George Washington’s famous 101 rules of civility, published in his eighteenth-century Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation must be understood as a product of Washington’s cultural upbringing: his class, creed, and ethnicity.
Civility evokes the broader issue of sociality and political community as something defined by the common good. Classical political theory of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries centred on the relative importance of two features which define the modern state: the presence of laws, on the one hand, and sovereignty (more lately in its guise as ‘popular will’) on the other. Whether sovereignty is a source of law or results from a subjection to natural (divine) law, is a problem arising from seventeenth-century political transformations in Europe, but the idea of law in a general sense is older, as evident in the Aristotelian distinction between physis and nomos.  is Aristotelian vocabulary reverberates with the opposition between societas, understood as people’s natural sociality, and civitas, the domain of human discretion and endeavour (Onuf 1994: 288).  ese terms allowed the German Enlightenment philosopher Christian Wolff to question the stark, Hobbesian contrast between the state of nature and the state of society. Instead, Wolff claimed, civitas ‘preserves’ societas by combining the powers of people and nations which ‘come together’ in civitas maxima, a state of affairs akin to the Kantian institution of world peace (Onuf 1994: 285).

6
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 3/2007


ALBERTO GOMES, TIMO KAARTINEN, TIMO KORTTEINEN
Whereas Kant’s and Wolff’s ideas of civility reached for the lofty ideal of world peace, few social scientists today find it helpful to define civility in their universalistic terms. Calhoun’s account of the moral virtues of civility forces us to engage the local interfaces and boundaries of moral and political domains and avoid limiting civility to either of them. Instead of implying a discourse of moral value or purpose, civility may best be analysed in terms of socially embedded practices and habits as suggested by Bailey. It is possible to categorize these practices and habits as constituting three forms of civility in the context of interethnic or intercommunity relations: quotidian, organic and imposed.
Quotidian civility
Quotidian civility refers to forms of social relations whereby people and communities maintain contacts and social networks across racial, ethnic and religious divides on an everyday and routine basis. Such civility has been variously described as everyday forms of civic engagement, grass-roots multiculturalism or thick, rooted or grounded cosmopolitanism. In relation to the question of how such forms of civility might abate conflict and tension, Fearon and Laitin (1996) have identified two inter-related social processes that tend to hamper inter-ethnic conflict, namely ‘spiral equilibrium’ and ‘in-group policing equilibrium’. According to this view, people living in multicultural spaces are likely to police their members to avoid offending people of another group with the belief that “any offence against members of another group will lead to a spiral of reciprocal retribution” (Carroll and Carroll 2000: 125), leading in the long-run to more losses than any short-term gain. To what extent is self-policing a strategy that people employ in their engagements with others whom they consider to be different? What other strategies do they employ to sustain peaceful and harmonious intercultural relations?  ese questions stress the need to give due attention to the creative and aesthetic agency of subjects, but without losing sight of the structures and processes that produce certain modes of interaction.
Organic civility
Durkheim used the term ‘organic solidarity’ in reference to the complementary relations and interdependence which in his view characterized modern society. A case can be made for reversing his contrast of ‘mechanic’ and ‘organic’ principles of social integration since the societies we usually identify as ‘modern’ lay a far greater emphasis on the generic and imagined similarity of their members.  e imagined uniformity and identity of ‘citizens’ or ‘people’ is apparent in the generic forms of interpersonal behaviour through which national societies strive to educate and socialize their members. Civility in this sense implies a certain elevation of everybody to a status formerly reserved for elites: witness the use of reverential pronominal forms to mark social distance in many European languages. It is instructive to take a look at what happens in those ‘traditional’ settings in which people are acutely aware of each other’s status in kinship networks and social hierarchies. Civility in these instances becomes an index of familiarity: often it is accompanied by forms of address and behaviour that take into account specific, local relationships.
We propose the use of organic civility in reference to these kinds of codes through which people extend their interpersonal relationships to persons who are socially distant. Typically this might involve kinship terms, for instance ‘little father’ which Russians and

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Sabtu, 23 April 2011

INTRODUCTION
CIVILITY AND SOCIAL RELATIONS IN SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
• ALBERTO GOMES, TIMO KAARTINEN, TIMO KORTTEINEN •
 roughout the southern coasts and archipelagos of Asia, the events attracting most attention in the world media appear to be linked to social and political instability and crisis. In spite of the growing role of this region in global processes of economic integration, its image is still one of divisive ethnic particularism complicated by a recent history of seditions, annexations, border conflicts and civil wars. What is missing in such an image is the pervasive and successful management of local social boundaries as well as the cosmopolitan ideas and cultural contacts which characterize the region’s history in the longer term.
 e contributors to this special issue of the Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society adopt the concept of civility to explore and interrogate the practices of managing social boundaries and conflicts in a number of specific sites in South and Southeast Asia. Civility in the classical sense refers to a space between personal relationships and lifeworlds, and encompassing political orders. Our purpose is to avoid treating this space as an abstracted political ideal, as it is in much of the current discussion about civil society. Instead, we ask how mutual recognition and the resolution of conflicts are embedded in social practices and relationships; how these practices articulate with national or colonial classifications of ethnicity and citizenship; and what kinds of performative spaces—public or otherwise—are involved in alternative models of inter-group relations.
Earlier versions of the articles published in this issue were presented in a two-day international workshop on ‘Managing Cultural Diversity: War and Peace in Southeast Asia’, held in August 2006 at the Department of Sociology of the University of Helsinki.  e Workshop was organized as part of an ongoing research project (2005-2010) on ‘Managing Cultural Diversity—Ethnicity Construction in Malaysia and Sri Lanka’ funded by the Academy of Finland and directed by Timo Kortteinen.  e primary question of the project is why ethnic violence has become almost the order of the day in Sri Lanka, but not in Malaysia, which shares a similar colonial history of divide-and-rule hegemony as well as affirmative policies that benefit the dominant ethnic group and exclude citizens belonging to other ethnic groups.  e workshop set out to broaden this comparative agenda to examine cases of successful co-existence and conflict in a number of Asian societies. Much of the discussion in the workshop centred on the problems of accounting for ethnic peace either by depoliticized national agendas such as multi-culturalism or by socially disembedded forms of cosmopolitanism which project politics into the domain of universal values.  e participants’ unease with such models inspired an interest in developing a more ethnographically sensitive agenda based on the notion of civility. We ask why, in spite of relatively similar structural conditions, there is ethnic violence in one country and relative ethnic peace in the other. What practices allow communities in multi-ethnic and historically diverse social settings in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia to manage social tensions and avert or reconcile conflict? To what extent are these practices rooted in local relationships, and what is the role of outside actors and agencies in mobilizing them and giving them new meanings? Are there inclusive spaces of

4
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 32 (3) Autumn 2007
PO Box 59, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland


ALBERTO GOMES, TIMO KAARTINEN, TIMO KORTTEINEN
civility which transcend local social forms, and what is their relationship to the value of human diversity affirmed by different forms of civic nationalism and cosmopolitanism? How do these discourses and practices articulate with models of civil coexistence imposed by nation-states?
From civility to comity
Many policymakers and observers offer simple and straightforward explanations for internal conflicts. It is commonly asserted that the driving forces underlying these conflicts are the ‘ancient hatreds’ that many ethnic and religious groups are said to have for each other.  is view, however, does not explain the low intensity or even general absence of conflict in areas with visible and conspicuous diversity in the forms of ethnicity, race and religion in its populace.  is reality invites reflection and beckons explanation. But to explain this in a comprehensive and thorough manner, it is imperative that we side-step from the broader, top-down frameworks employed in most existing work on the study of ethnic conflict and cohesion to the structure and patterns of everyday intercultural civic engagement and quotidian aspects of daily life involving civility and routine.
In a survey of multi-ethnic societies, Stanfield (1996: 15) notes “as much as we know about how ethnically different people do not get along, we know virtually nothing about the converse—ethnically different people living together in sustaining peace.” While there are several studies exploring why peace and harmony exist in some multicultural contexts (see, for example, Nandy 2002; Varshney 2002), the number is meagre compared to the extensive work on ethnic and communal violence. A pertinent point, as Fearon and  Laitin (1996: 715) raise, is that “…a good theory of ethnic conflict should be able to explain why, despite the greater tensions, peaceful and cooperative relations are by far the more typical outcome than is large-scale violence.” Varshney (2002: 6), in his study of Hindu-Muslim relations in India, goes even further to state forcefully and unequivocally that “until we study ethnic peace, we will not be able to have a good theory of ethnic conflict.”  is is not to suggest that we should ignore the violence that such conflict has caused, especially given the senseless destruction of life and property and the psychological trauma for victims arising from such violence. Indeed, it is precisely for this reason that we have to seek understandings of how people actively create and sustain regimes of peace in multicultural spaces and in potentially volatile and tense political situations.
Varshney rightly clarifies that ethnic peace should be conceptualized as the absence of violence rather than the absence of conflict. In his observations of relative communal harmony and peace in Cochin in India, Ashis Nandy (2002: 160) notes “Having stereotypes and disliking other communities, yet granting them a place in the sun and even the right to dislike and keep a distance from one’s own community, is obviously one of the building blocks of Cochin’s version of cultural plurality.” Conflict does not necessarily lead to violence; communities in conflict with one another can still live in peace and harmony with one another.
 e Oxford English Dictionary defines civility as “politeness; consideration; an act or expression of politeness” among the several meanings of the word. Civility can mean courtesy. Here we use the term to refer to forms of social relations which involve intersubjectivity, interdependence, and reciprocal respect in the pursuit of a common good. As Cheshire Calhoun (2000: 251) indicates, “Civility forestalls the potential unpleasantness

Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 3/2007
5


ALBERTO GOMES, TIMO KAARTINEN, TIMO KORTTEINEN
of a life with other people. Without it, daily social exchanges can turn nasty and sometimes hazardous. Civility thus seems to be a basic virtue of social life.” She stresses the virtue of civility in multicultural societies:
Civility fits citizens for life in a pluralistic society and is closely connected to tolerance.  e civil citizen exercises tolerance in the face of deep disagreement about the good. She respects the rights of others, refrains from violence, intimidation, harassment and coercion, does not show contempt for others’ life plans, and has a healthy respect for others’ privacy. (Calhoun 2000, 251)
In other words, civility informs social engagement and encourages tolerance and respect for differences. However, it must be asserted that it is distinct from tolerance which connotes non-interference. While tolerance may involve the expression of respect for differences, unlike civility, as we delineate here, it is maintained through social distance or detachment.
Civility is often presented as morally virtuous, as in Calhoun’s treatise. However, Bailey, in his book Civility of Indifference (1996), contends that civility does not necessarily imply a moral value or purpose. In his analysis of social life of people in the village of Bisipara in the state of Orissa in eastern India in the 1950s, he observes:
…they habitually acted with calculated moderation, even when they put on the appearance of being impassioned. In their dealings they seldom gave in to anger, still less to sustained mindless hatred. (...)  ey were tolerant of one another, not because they had highly developed and explicit notions of the individual’s proper space and proper freedoms, not for positive reasons, but as a matter of habit, by default. To have been intolerant, had they thought about it, would have been judged expensive, too much trouble, a bad investment, and in the end self-destructive. (1996: 166-167)
It should be stressed that conceptions of civility vary across cultures. What is considered as civil behaviour in one culture may not necessarily be regarded as civil in another; it may even be deemed uncivil. In other words, civility is culturally mediated. George Washington’s famous 101 rules of civility, published in his eighteenth-century Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation must be understood as a product of Washington’s cultural upbringing: his class, creed, and ethnicity.
Civility evokes the broader issue of sociality and political community as something defined by the common good. Classical political theory of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries centred on the relative importance of two features which define the modern state: the presence of laws, on the one hand, and sovereignty (more lately in its guise as ‘popular will’) on the other. Whether sovereignty is a source of law or results from a subjection to natural (divine) law, is a problem arising from seventeenth-century political transformations in Europe, but the idea of law in a general sense is older, as evident in the Aristotelian distinction between physis and nomos.  is Aristotelian vocabulary reverberates with the opposition between societas, understood as people’s natural sociality, and civitas, the domain of human discretion and endeavour (Onuf 1994: 288).  ese terms allowed the German Enlightenment philosopher Christian Wolff to question the stark, Hobbesian contrast between the state of nature and the state of society. Instead, Wolff claimed, civitas ‘preserves’ societas by combining the powers of people and nations which ‘come together’ in civitas maxima, a state of affairs akin to the Kantian institution of world peace (Onuf 1994: 285).

6
Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 3/2007


ALBERTO GOMES, TIMO KAARTINEN, TIMO KORTTEINEN
Whereas Kant’s and Wolff’s ideas of civility reached for the lofty ideal of world peace, few social scientists today find it helpful to define civility in their universalistic terms. Calhoun’s account of the moral virtues of civility forces us to engage the local interfaces and boundaries of moral and political domains and avoid limiting civility to either of them. Instead of implying a discourse of moral value or purpose, civility may best be analysed in terms of socially embedded practices and habits as suggested by Bailey. It is possible to categorize these practices and habits as constituting three forms of civility in the context of interethnic or intercommunity relations: quotidian, organic and imposed.
Quotidian civility
Quotidian civility refers to forms of social relations whereby people and communities maintain contacts and social networks across racial, ethnic and religious divides on an everyday and routine basis. Such civility has been variously described as everyday forms of civic engagement, grass-roots multiculturalism or thick, rooted or grounded cosmopolitanism. In relation to the question of how such forms of civility might abate conflict and tension, Fearon and Laitin (1996) have identified two inter-related social processes that tend to hamper inter-ethnic conflict, namely ‘spiral equilibrium’ and ‘in-group policing equilibrium’. According to this view, people living in multicultural spaces are likely to police their members to avoid offending people of another group with the belief that “any offence against members of another group will lead to a spiral of reciprocal retribution” (Carroll and Carroll 2000: 125), leading in the long-run to more losses than any short-term gain. To what extent is self-policing a strategy that people employ in their engagements with others whom they consider to be different? What other strategies do they employ to sustain peaceful and harmonious intercultural relations?  ese questions stress the need to give due attention to the creative and aesthetic agency of subjects, but without losing sight of the structures and processes that produce certain modes of interaction.
Organic civility
Durkheim used the term ‘organic solidarity’ in reference to the complementary relations and interdependence which in his view characterized modern society. A case can be made for reversing his contrast of ‘mechanic’ and ‘organic’ principles of social integration since the societies we usually identify as ‘modern’ lay a far greater emphasis on the generic and imagined similarity of their members.  e imagined uniformity and identity of ‘citizens’ or ‘people’ is apparent in the generic forms of interpersonal behaviour through which national societies strive to educate and socialize their members. Civility in this sense implies a certain elevation of everybody to a status formerly reserved for elites: witness the use of reverential pronominal forms to mark social distance in many European languages. It is instructive to take a look at what happens in those ‘traditional’ settings in which people are acutely aware of each other’s status in kinship networks and social hierarchies. Civility in these instances becomes an index of familiarity: often it is accompanied by forms of address and behaviour that take into account specific, local relationships.
We propose the use of organic civility in reference to these kinds of codes through which people extend their interpersonal relationships to persons who are socially distant. Typically this might involve kinship terms, for instance ‘little father’ which Russians and

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